In one year Larry Sanders has gone from relative obscurity to becoming the centerpiece of the Milwaukee Bucks' rebuilding plans.

Even he has a hard time digesting it.

But the 24-year-old center said Monday he is ready to embrace his sudden leadership role on a Bucks team that has undergone a huge makeover this summer.

Sanders discussed his four-year contract extension at a news conference held at the Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club a few blocks north of the team's BMO Harris Bradley Center home court.

Last week he signed a four-year $44 million extension that will keep him with the Bucks through the 2017-'18 season.

"This organization has put so much trust in me as a person as a player as a worker as a leader" Sanders said. "That's definitely the role I want to take.

"It's not a spontaneous thing. We've been working in this direction for a long time. Now them investing this faith in me is awesome. But it comes with a lot of responsibility and I embrace that.

"I've had my mistakes; I've had my ups and downs. All in all I keep pushing in a forward direction and it's allowed me to get here today. It's the same direction I want to push this team."

Sanders went from a reserve role his first two seasons to a standout third season as he became the Bucks starting center. He ranked second in the league in blocked shots and averaged nearly a double-double (9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds) a showing that led to a third-place finish in the NBA most improved player balloting.

"When you have a goaltender like this someone that can protect the basket they're hard to find" Bucks general manager John Hammond said. "It's about Larry Sanders the player but it's also about Larry Sanders the person. And I'm glad he said it before I did.

"With what we've just done here there's a lot of responsibility that comes with that. Larry and I have talked about that a lot. He welcomes that and is looking forward to taking on that challenge."